Niki Boon

Wild and Free

Grew up on a farm in rural New Zealand, with a childhood barefoot, wild and free. In part my photographic work pulls from my childhood freedoms and adventures that still exist so strongly in my mind. Today we live on a small block of land where I strive to replicate this childhood for my children… it is here in our wild and wonderful surroundings that I endeavor to tell their story .. Life as it is.




Niki Boon is a previously trained physiotherapist turned photographer and mother of four wild and free children living in Marlborough, New Zealand. Boon’s current project was born form the desire to document her family’s days as they pursue an alternative education and lifestyle with their children in a rural environment.

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Niki Boon

8 thoughts on “Niki Boon – Wild and Free”

  1. So very, very good. Bob do you ever still visit? I can’t possibly do this justice with words but would love to see what you had to say.

  2. A really fun essay! I didn’t think Burn did fun anymore. This place has gotten horribly earnest the past couple of years, with doom and gloom and war and whatnot (gotta watch out for whatnot) taking up most of the space. Harry is right; this is the sort of thing that Bob could bat out 10,000 words of analysis on without breaking a sweat. Unlike Bill, I do not have a book to plug, but since Bob is not around to do a think piece, I will do one. My apologies to Nikki (all of these apologies, ma’am; we should stop treating you this way ;-) but I used to do this sort of thing a lot around here. Really. You can look it up.

    Gnomes infest my home. I realize that this is something that your average American homeowner (like me, for instance) would prefer not to bring up in polite conversation—gnomes really do cause your property values to crater, especially in a tight real estate market—but the problem at my house has become so onerous that I had to do something about it. Now, I should point out that I am not referring to garden gnomes, those happy little whatever they are that hang around people’s gardens and do not appear to be doing very much other than standing around in people’s gardens not doing very much. I have no problems with them; I am civil to them and they are equally civil to me; and I have no problems with that gnome you see on television all the time advertising travel services either. I seldom travel anywhere so our paths rarely, if ever, cross. Nor do I have any sort of problem with the rest of the little people: trolls, ogres, pixies, leprechauns (except on St. Patrick’s Day), hobbits, fairies, elves, sprites, etc., etc.—I get along with all of them. Home gnomes, on the other hand, are a malignant bunch of ankle biting bastards and the sooner the pesticide companies come up with a way of removing them permanently from my house, our happy little burg, the Vampire State, and this our Great Republic the better.

    I do not know how home gnomes came to this country. I suppose that it may be the usual tale of immigrants from a foreign land escaping persecution or economic hardship or the ineluctable demand that you eat liver because it’s good for you, that’s why, the sort of story that brings a tear to the eye of every red-blooded American. Or, in an alternative scenario, the home gnomes could be like fire ants, killer bees, or kudzu—another country’s homegrown pain in the ass that somehow landed here and decided that being a pain in the ass back in the old country was not enough for them. America beckoned, and the chance to be a pain in the ass here as well was just too good for them to resist. However the little bastards got here, they’re here now, and they’re in my house, and it’s driving me up the wall.

    So, you may be asking yourself at this point in this interminable screed, what is wrong with home gnomes? How can anyone despise them? They are so cute and cuddly, in the adorable way that kitty cats, teddy bears, and hagfish are, surely no one could loathe them as much as I seem to do. My response to this is simple: baloney. Home gnomes, and I don’t think that I should have to keep pointing this out to people, behave one way when they are out in public and quite another when one is stuck with them as houseguests. Frankly, I would rather have a gaggle of gluttonous relatives come visit me over a long holiday weekend than deal with a home gnome, because home gnomes are like relatives you don’t like on steroids.

    To begin with, home gnomes do not bathe. At all. Ever. As a result, home gnomes stink in the same way that the men’s room of a bad Indo-Pak restaurant stinks after a long hot Saturday night in July, which is to say, completely and to the nth degree. In the nineteenth century, Christian missionaries from New England tried to convince the home gnomes that cleanliness was next to godliness and showed the ungrateful little bastards how to use soap and water. Many a hoary old gnomish (assuming that’s even a word) traditionalist objected to soap and water, claiming that the stuff corrupted the morals of the younger generation and led them into such base and disgusting practices as broccoli farming and selling life insurance, but the protests of the greybeards did nothing to stop the popularity of soap and water, which the youngsters garnished with mint toothpaste and washed down with copious amounts of Listerine.

    I find the soap eating to be particularly revolting. There is almost nothing in this world more annoying than coming home from a long day at work to find six or seven unconscious gnomes fried to the gills on Listerine floating around my living room with their trousers pulled down to their ankles and large hydrogen[i] filled soap bubbles coming out of their rumps. This is, firstly, just plain disgusting—no one in their right mind wants to look at a home gnome’s bare bottom, not even female home gnomes[ii]–and secondly, it is hazardous in the extreme, since sober home gnomes—this has been known to happen[iii]—think that throwing lit matches at their drunken compatriots’ backsides while they hang in midair is in some way funny. That throwing a lit match at a flatus full of hydrogen is not the best idea anyone could have on any given day—it could cause an explosion, after all, and a big one if there are more than one gnome involved—does not occur to home gnomes, largely because home gnomes are, collectively and individually, dumber than a box of wet rocks. About twenty years ago, the board of education here in our happy little burg decided that what the home gnomes really needed, other than a good swift kick in the bottom, was an education. The noble experiment[iv] began with the best of intentions, but as most experienced teachers know, educating someone who does not want an education is almost impossible.[v] The gnomes cut all of their classes and spent their school days in the bathrooms drinking the liquid soap out of the dispensers and chasing pretty girls up and down the halls. In the end, the board of education admitted defeat and expelled the home gnomes en masse, but not before the gnomes burned the new high school to the ground.

    So, as you might imagine, I want to get rid of my home gnomes while my house is still undamaged. My mother recently had a deputy sheriff come out to her house to shoot a rabid raccoon in her driveway and I asked the deputy if she could come over to my house and shoot the gnomes as well. The answer was no. She was very polite about it, but at this time there is no law against being a home gnome and therefore shooting one was out of the question. She did provide a little hope, however. The malfeasant peculators who run the Vampire State may not be the greatest supporters of the Second Amendment you could ever hope to find here in this our Great Republic, but if you pay for a license and wait for the proper season, the state will let you kill damn near anything you want to kill. Well, it seems that home gnomes are an even bigger nuisance upstate than they are hereabouts—it seems that home gnomes are the leading cause of forest fires upstate—and there is now legislation before the Assembly to have a home gnome season run concurrently with deer season. That’s it then, folks. The minute the governor signs that bill into law, I am going down the street to Don German’s Hair Cut & Hand Grenade Emporium to buy myself a shotgun, yes I am. I’m getting rid of the little bastards one way or the other.

    [i] Yes, hydrogen, not methane. They’re gnomes, not people.
    [ii] Easily distinguished from their male counterparts by their shorter beards and the red rings on their prehensile noses.
    [iii] Really, I’m not kidding.
    [iv] Aren’t they always?
    [v] I offer my brothers as evidence of this contention.

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